John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Store owner disgusted after charity box stolen

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Store owner Gary Henwood. Photo/Andrew Warner.
Store owner Gary Henwood. Photo/Andrew Warner.

A Bay man who collects money for sick children is disgusted and appalled after thieves stole a fully laden charity box from his store overnight.

It's absolutely disgusting. Who would do this?
Gary Henwood, owner

The Whakamarama General Store was broken into about 4.30am yesterday.

Thieves made off with some items and cigarettes but it was a collection box for cystic fibrosis sufferers which upset store owner Gary Henwood the most.

"It's absolutely disgusting. Who would do this?" he said.

Cystic fibrosis is the most common life-threatening genetic disorder affecting New Zealand children. The inherited disorder affects a number of organs in the body, especially the lungs and pancreas, by clogging them with thick, sticky mucus. There is no known cure.

Thieves smashed in to the building through a large, thick glass pane and tore through the store searching for goods to take, "making a huge mess", Mr Henwood said.

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The charity box inside had collected $400 to $500 and was just about to be emptied, Mr Henwood said.

Mr Henwood said the collection box played an important role in Whakamarama.

Store owner Gary Henwood cleans up the mess after a burglary. Photo/Andrew Warner
Store owner Gary Henwood cleans up the mess after a burglary. Photo/Andrew Warner

"We have three kids out in the local community with cystic fibrosis. It's a charity that's really close to my heart and to the locals out here.

"The lady who usually empties it for me was meant to [yesterday] but was taking her daughter to Starship last night instead."

The General Store was fully alarmed and thieves were chased off the premises by people alerted by the security system.

Senior Sergeant Karl Konlechner said no arrests had been made yet.

"After the alarm had gone off someone nearby heard some yelling, two or three people yelling."

It was thought the offenders could have been after beer.

What is cystic fibrosis?
* Cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition, that occurs when the affected gene is inherited from both the mother and the father.
* People with one cystic fibrosis gene are called carriers and generally have no symptoms of cystic fibrosis.
* Cystic fibrosis is not contagious.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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